A church shares its building with Muslims

Heartsong Church in Cordova, Tennessee has invited local Muslims to share its building.

From here:

One of the most troubling components in the current dialogue about relationships between Jesus followers and Muslims is the charge that Muslims do not worship the one true God, indeed that they are idolaters. I wonder if people who say that would make the same charge against Jews who also do not accept Jesus as the Messiah. The Muslims with whom I share relationships of love and trust tell me they worship the same God I do and the Jews do. According to my faith, they cannot do it to the fullest because Jesus is the full revelation of God—God in flesh and blood. But who am I to say that they do not worship the one true God according to their understanding? Jesus reserved his sternest warnings for those who would dare take the place of God and pass judgment on the heart of another. Heartsong and I do not dare do this. Be careful, sisters and brothers, that you also do not.

The problem with arguing that Muslims worship the same God as Christians simply because they say they do, is that it can be said by anyone who worships anything that falls roughly into the category of “a god” – Gaia, Anuflac and Gorgastriaum included.

As the author of the above article acknowledges, if Christians are right, Jesus is the highest revelation of God to humanity and insofar as a religion doesn’t acknowledge that, it has things wrong and is worshipping, at best, something less than God, and, at worst, something opposed to God.

So should a church share its building with Muslms? Only if it’s to encourage them to convert to Christianity.

16 thoughts on “A church shares its building with Muslims

  1. Shades of Little Mosque on the Prairie, life imatating art?

    Christians and Jews share the same basic Scripture, the Muslims don’t.

  2. A few years ago, I would have come down strongly against the idea of sharing a worship space; but wouldn’t have been able to give a biblically-sound rationale for doing so. Now I’m less certain. I haven’t spent enough time thinking about the issue or studying Scripture to be able to discern a godly response that is not worried about man pleasing. I would draw a line, however, if any compromise of the gospel was required. If a church is unabashedly preaching that Jesus is the way, the truth and life, and the only way to God, and a Muslim group still wants to use the building, I’m not sure what the right answer is.

    Our pastor in Winnipeg a few years ago allowed a Muslim community organizaion to use the church building during the week for non-worship purposes (I forget the exact activity, but I think it was a group for mothers of young children). He got slammed by some people, and I wasn’t keen on the idea. Now I’m not sure how I’d respond.

    Like my response to the command to love my neighbour, I believe that political ideology, cultural preference, geographical location, etc., should not play a part. I should also not be concerned about public perception. This is easy to say, but hard to practise.

    • Christian churches should not open their doors for Muslim services. I feel that 2 John 9-11 answers this question very clearly.

      9.) Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of CHRIST, hath not GOD. He that abideth in the doctrine of CHRIST, he hath both the Father and the Son.

      10.) If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed (encouragement).

      11.) For that he that biddeth him God speed is partaker (sharing) of his evil deeds.

      • I’m tending towards a similar view – but I disagree that the Scripture you’ve quoted is relevant. I gather that you are thinking of a scenario where the two groups come together for some kind of ecumenical service, rather than the situation where the building is used for two entirely different purposes at different times. There wouldn’t necessarily have to be any interaction between the two groups.

  3. The surprise to me is not that the space was offered, but that the offer was accepted.
    Centuries ago it was the Muslims that were enlightened in their relations with Christians. Jews, Christians and Muslims were all refered to as “people of the book” and accomodations were made. It’s a shame that the tenor of modern Islam brooks no accomodation today.

  4. Um. I seem to recall that when the Moslems conquered Palestine, Amr, their general, was invited to pray in the church of the holy sepulchre. He declined, saying that, if he did, the Moslems would consider the building was a mosque and would expell the Christians from it.

    Those who do not learn the lessons of history get to repeat them.

  5. Pingback: Did Amr ibn al-As refuse to pray in a church in Jerusalem in case the Moslems seized it? at Roger Pearse

  6. Our community group (i.e., small group) at church is starting a study of J.I. Packer’s Knowing God this morning. Yesterday I did some reading ahead and noted this comment by Packer in chapter 4: “Or are our ideas of God such that in reality we do not believe in the Christian God, but in some other, just as the Moslem or Jew or Jehovah’s Witness does not believe in the Christian God, but in some other?”

    I’m not prepared to (or capable of) defend this statement theologically, but I’ve noted with interest on other blogs that people who are strongly against sharing worship space with Muslims, are typcially prepared to do so with Jews. I wonder if they have any biblical or theological foundation for this position, or if it really boils down to Muslims being viewed as a threat while Jews are not?

  7. The god who is described in the Koran does not have the same attributes as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. There is no concept of the Trinity, no concept of “God is love” in Islam. We do not worship the same God.

  8. I was wrong in my previous comment and we didn’t start our study of Knowing God this morning – it starts next week. Instead, we had presentations from two missionaries that are part of our community group (we are blessed to have several). One is with Greater Europe Mission and is focused on church planting and church leader training in Muslim areas of southeastern Europe (he recently returned from a trip to Bulgaria). The other is the director for Open Doors International – another ministry focused on reaching Muslims (as an aside, he co-authored the book Secret Believers: What Happens When Muslims Believe in Christ with Brother Andrew. He spoke this morning about a recent trip to Pakistan where he had opportunity to meet with both Christian and political leaders.

    After the presentation, I asked both men what they thought about churches making available worship spaces for use by Muslims. We didn’t have time to get into a theological discussion, but both felt that the churches were being naive and probably didn’t well understand the mindset that goes along with Islam (along the lines of what Roger Pearse was alluding to). They are wise and godly men whom I trust, and they have helped me make up my mind on this issue.

  9. The Ottawa Central Mosque is two doors down from Northwestern United Church on Northwestern Avenue. For many years, they met in the basement of Northwestern United, until they raised funds for a building. When they had funds, they sought to stay near those who had befriended them.

    • Henry, the gentlemen I referred to above said that it is standard practice for a mosque to be built adjacent to a church – with the minaret always higher than the highest point on the church. Does this hold true for the example you cited?

      • Pretty close – Google street view

        I’d say the top of the dome and the top of the spire (does that kind of thing have a special name?) are about equal. And the minarette is indeed taller. Phallic symbolism, anyone?

        Note that I was wrong, there’s only one house between the two.

        The first and last time I was in the Ottawa Mosque was right after 9/11; that was when the less well-informed Christians were fire-bombing Hindu temples and phoning death threats to breeders of Afghan hounds, and a bunch of us felt that that nonsense was insulting Christianity. Although as I recall, there were a goodly number of faith groups represented that night, Christians, Mormons, Jews, pagans, and probably a few atheists.

  10. All you have to do is read almost any part of the Koran and it is obvious that Muslims do not see Christ as the son of God. Any religion that advocates the MURDER of non belivers in Islam is a cult. Why share Christian space with a crazy ass cult? Tthe pastgor of this church should sell cars not preach the word of God. Bible does not say roll over and play dead dog when you should be standing tall for Christ.

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